fear

Volley for the Win

My Grandma Clarkston (God rest her soul) graciously gifted me with her bad joints. At age 25, I blew out my right knee trying to escape a paintball grenade in the woods. I was carried out of the woods – and later had an MRI. Torn MCL and a slight ACL tear as well. Both were repaired.

Eight months after that surgery – I was off to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island to visit with my family. We were visiting Tony Macaroni on Taino Beach when a spontaneous game of beach volleyball broke out. My gut told me to keep my butt planted firmly on that picnic table, but my love for beach volleyball won. One still weak knee meant most of my weight was on my left knee. Sure enough – snap. I knew as soon as I heard it what had happened. The rest of that trip was spent with my leg up and I gimped my way through the airport back home. This time, severe ACL tear. Helloooo, knee surgery #2.

Truth be told, I love most sports involving a net – tennis and volleyball in particular.  I also love not spending 6 months recovering from knee surgery. The fear of pain has kept me from experiencing my best life. For the better part of 10 years, I’ve avoided any activity involving nets… but that’s where I was happiest in the past.  Until this past Wednesday. Wednesday, I saw 3 high school age kids right outside the condo on the beach, carrying a volleyball. Me not being a very shy person – I went over and invited myself to a game. They obliged the old woman and I’m not gonna lie – I kinda kicked ass. It’s like I never stopped playing. There was diving in the sand, jumping, serving, spiking, setting… all to the music of waves crashing against the shore. Why have I avoided this for so long?

Fear of pain… The truth is sometimes risking pain is worth it. It’s just that – a risk. It’s not a guarantee. When you challenge that risk, you also are reaching for – and often obtaining – the one thing you never knew you were missing in your life.

“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” 
― Bob Dylan

The Inevitable Fear

And you’re back?  Hooray for another Face Your Fear Friday!

All of us fear it in one way or another. Death. Don’t leave! My hope is that this lights a fire under you to mend fences. Have no regrets.  This life boils down to one thing in my mind. It’s not about building the biggest business. It’s not about how many things you can fit into your castle of a house. What it starts and ends with is love.

In all seriousness, I don’t fear my own death one bit. That might sound morbid, but I’ve just come to accept the circle of life. Here’s my biggest fear, truth be told: My leaving this planet or someone I love leaving this planet not knowing how much I love them. I was sitting with my two cousins at [Stacked Pickle] a little over a month ago. We were talking about getting our cousins together to do a camping trip this summer so we could all be in one place and just enjoy each other’s company outside of the hustle and bustle of every day life. I think Joe thanked me for organizing it – and that was all it took.  Tears started flowing down my cheeks and I said, “You know, my biggest fear is that I won’t see you guys or people that I love again – and you won’t know how much I love you.” And the tears kept coming.  The truth is that the tears finally stopped the day after, but even now, writing this out – my eyes are starting to fill up.

I lost my mom nearly 6 years ago to a horrid disease – pancreatic cancer. I’d be lying if I told you that a part of me didn’t die that day as well. Before that day came though – my GOD, we had a rocky relationship.  I took her for granted more times than I care to remember. I was selfish. She was demanding and controlling. It felt like one head butt session after another. I even remember when she was feeling so badly before her diagnosis – I felt like she was exaggerating – because that’s what she did. Everything was bigger than life (which is probably why I love the movie Big Fish). As I sat in that tiny little consultation room with about 10 other family members, the doctor told me news that flipped my whole world upside down. As much as this woman annoyed me. As much as I’d thought her purpose in life was to destroy mine – the reality of the woman who loved me enough to give me life – flashed right in front of me. In that moment, I realized just how self-centered we can be as humans. Before this moment, I’d lived my life for me. On October 11th, 2007 – my life was no longer just about what I wanted and what I needed. At around 10:30 am that very day, my life’s purpose became saving my mother’s life. No doctor was going to tell me I couldn’t either.

I tried – and I failed. One thing I didn’t fail at though: I rebuilt an incredible, loving, connected relationship with my momma. I apologized for the little things and the big things.  I bathed her, massaged her, and at the end, flushed her IV lines, fed her – and ultimately…. let her go.  As I was sitting next to her as she was in her hospital bed a couple of weeks before she passed, her best friend, Patty was there.  I got a little emotional and started to apologize again.  She looked at me and said, “honey, it’s ok.  Let it go.”  Then she looked at Patty and said, “Isn’t it funny? Your kids can wound you deeply and all it takes is a heartfelt apology and EVERYTHING is ok. And I mean it, sis.” As she turns back to me.. “Everything is ok.”  Now that’s love.

I want to leave you with this video from Patrick Swayzee and Barbara Walters.  It’s ironic that this man passed from the same dreaded disease. The reason I share it though – is the tail end of this video. “It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside… You take it with you.”  Live each day like it’s your last – and love just the same.  Mend fences.  Pride is a monster and it’s not worth the regrets you’ll have once it’s too late.

If you have interest in learning more about Pancreatic Cancer or would like to donate to research please visit the —->PanCan Site <—–

Skinny Jean Hell

I hate skinny jeans. I’ve hated skinny jeans from the first time I tried them on thinking they were … well… not skinny jeans. As if I didn’t have enough body image issues before that little episode.  Ha. As IF! I seriously thought I’d magically gone up 2 pant sizes over night.  And THAT, ladies and gentleman, was my first experience with skinny jeans.

Oh – did I happen to mention it’s Face Your Fear Friday?  I didn’t? Well, as some of you know – every Friday ’round these parts is Face Your Fear Friday. I talk about fear, face some of my own – and in time – have guest bloggers talk about some of their fears. Today is no exception. Today – I faced one of my body image fears.

My friend, [Polina Osherov], had a conversation with me about a week ago. She’s one of my oldest and best friends and is HIGHLY aware of my body image issues. She pulls me aside and tells me there’s no reason not to update my wardrobe, so she’s ordered me some skinny jeans AND tops with horizontal stripes. O_O  She completely expected the reaction she got. She practically had the paper bag in hand, just waiting for me to hyperventilate. And then it happened. I struggled for breath, my pulse went bananas and I felt all of the blood drain out of my head. WOOZY!!! You probably think I’m exaggerating here and that no one could possibly be this frightened of clothes. I hereby do solemnly swear… it doesn’t get any more real than this.

She explained that all I had to do was try them on.  TRY them. The clothes hadn’t even arrived yet and I was panic stricken. Yesterday she warned me that the clothes were arriving (that day) and that I was going to DEBUT them at the Speakeasy to watch [Jay Baer].  Oh. God. Feeling the heart speeeeed back up.  They never arrived.  Well, they didn’t arrive yesterday at least. Whew!  Bullet dodged.

Today was an entirely different matter.  Today, I got the word… they have arrived.  In all their anorexic glory. Let me just say that I don’t think everyone who wears skinny jeans is anorexic.  It’s just that I felt like I needed to look that way in order to appear like I fit in a pair of them.  I walk into her kitchen where the nice little white box from [Forever 21] was sitting on her table.  She gave me the eye.  Ya know… the one that said, “Ohhh yeah.  THIS is gonna be fun.”  She got to play dress up with me for the next 15-20 minutes ordering me to try this shoe or that shoe – and then ultimately telling me to buy different shoes.  Then she dragged me up to her full length mirror in her bedroom in all my shameful agony to show me … Me.

A woman. Nearly 40 (oh god. another panic attack.  jk – I don’t care about that so much.) with curves. And while yes, my struggle to take weight off has been one nightmare of a roller coaster, my personal trainer told me today that I’m only 6-7 months away from being exactly where I need to be. That’s no time in my world. And so, bring it, baby. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy my curves. They’re not goin’ anywhere. It’s the way I was built – and my new skinny jeans hug them in all the right ways.

What are you waitin’ on? Get out there and face a fear or two. You just might like it.

I’m Afraid of Your Routine

Okay, not really, but lots of other people are. The things that you wake up to in the morning and do out of habit… There’s someone else, next door… a mile down the road or maybe the next state over that’s afraid of that very thing. That’s what this Face Your Fear Friday thing is all about.

Think about it. You wake up, make coffee, brush your teeth, shower, dress, eat breakfast, feed the kids, get them all ready – then what do you do? Most of us pile in the car and we travel our butts to work, school, daycare – whatever the case may be.  Can you imagine if you were afraid to get in that vehicular object and throw it in reverse?  Like … scared stiff?  Right.  Most of us can’t even begin to imagine it.

The folks at the [Experience Project] see this sort of thing quite often though.  Click that link back there <—— (the one in the brackets… it’s ok… I’ll wait.)

How would your life be different if that fear was your own?  It’s not all that different though – from your own fear, that is.  Which one of your fears is stopping you from living your life to the fullest?  Or maybe not even all that – which one of your fears is keeping you from living a life of just a little less stress and a little more ease?

Maybe connecting with others that suffer the same fears as you will help you through it?  There are other folks there too – just waiting to cheer you on in whatever is stifling you.  [Check out the Experience Project by CLICKING HERE!]

What have you done to face your fears?

It’s that day!  Face your fear Friday!!

I’m not talking about me today.  Instead I’m talking about my long, lost roommate (of a whole week.)  Ps – I miss you, Randleski!! :-)  Scott took last week’s blog post and the homework assignment very seriously and stepped outside of his comfort zone.  I’m pleased to report that Scott is still very much alive and his mental muscle is stronger for this step.  Take a peek at Randleski’s blog [here].

Not pleased with the outcome?  Why not?  I am.  He’s stronger for it!  Plus, as I explained to him, she can’t be human.  She doesn’t like coffee.  Interspecies relationships rarely work ;-)

So happy people are starting to take this fear thing by the *ahem*!!  This is exactly why I’ve dedicated Fridays to it.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your own fear story.  Let’s keep encouraging others to do the same.

And also – Happy Valentine’s Day!  Significant other or not, you’re loved!!!

Even Spielberg Got Rejected

Did you just say you don’t have a fear of rejection?  Don’t believe you.  I mean – there must be a few of you out there that are fearless, but let’s face it.  The one thing that freezes most of us in our tracks is fear of a two-letter-word.

NO!

This video is very clear – we’re all (regardless of our social status or level of success) going to be rejected at some point in our life.  Here’s the thing though:  You don’t know that you’ll be rejected unless you ask.  The fear of the two-letter-word stops most of us in our tracks.

  • “If I ask for that raise, my boss won’t give it to me – so why bother?”
  • “If I ask him out, he’ll say no.  Then I’ll be embarrassed.”
  • “If I go after that promotion, someone more qualified will get the job.”
  • “I can’t go after that big name client. I’m not a big name, myself.”

Stop it!

  • If you ask for that raise – what if your boss says yes?!  You have better quality of life with just one question.  Plus, you come off as someone who is confident – which certainly isn’t a bad thing come time for that promotion.
  • Is it possible that he’ll say no?  Sure – on to the next one.  Why would you be embarrassed?  Are you so arrogant to think that you are a match for everyone?  Let me clear that up for you.  You’re not – so brush your shoulders off and on to the next one.
  • If you go after that promotion – could you get passed up?  Sure!  If you do get passed up, you’ve gained interviewing experience (which is never bad) in case you get the opportunity to interview there again.  It shows you’re interested in growing with the company.  If you decide you don’t want to give it another shot with your current employer – it gives you the interview experience to take to interviews with potential new employers.
  • If you go after that big name client – sure…. They could go with another firm that’s larger and well known.  Worst that could happen?  You’re a name in their mind.  I guarantee that smaller businesses follow that company.  Maybe your name comes up with them.  Or best case – they hire YOU because, let’s be honest.  Sometimes clients buy not just experience or brand.  Sometimes they buy YOU.  Your character.  Your confidence.

More than any of that, being told no isn’t the end of your world.  Every time you get knocked down, you have to use that mental muscle to pull yourself back up.  It makes you stronger.

Your homework?  Do one thing this week that puts you in this zone.  Ask the guy or girl out that you’ve been wanting to (if they’re single.)  Ask for that raise at work.  The worse that can happen is that you end up stronger for it in the end.  I’m going to do the same.  Have to practice what I preach, right??

“As actors, we deal with rejection so much more than any other business. So I don’t care how much of a genius you are, if you don’t have the propensity to be able to get back up every time you get knocked down, then you’re not going to survive.” – Ryan Kwanten

Chaos – Where The Living Gets Good!

I’ve just come back from an event with [Pattern].  As always, networking with people has provided me with a reminder of why I do what I do.

I met so many people tonight.  Some of those were established business owners.  Some of them new businesses.  Others – up and comers.  This blog is for you.  The up and comers.  While I hope I provided some sort of encouragement to you – I know that there’s strength in numbers.  I also want you to know you’re not alone.   One of my friends, Scott, has agreed to let me share his most recent blog post with you.

My hope is that you not stay in the place that you are now – but let this be a little push or a huge shove forward into the place you should be.  The place where YOU become the encourager for another up and comer.  Live.  YOU!  LIVE!  No longer is it OK to exist and hope that you make it.  Take steps.  Get out of your head.  Step outside of logic.  Chaos is where the living gets good.

I hope you enjoy his blog – but more than that, I hope you do something with it.

Last night consisted of a myriad of vivid dreams. One, in particular, woke me up with tears dripping down my cheeks.

Growing up, my Mom always hung enormous photos of my brother and I on the hallway walls most near our bedrooms. One particular wall seemed like a prison lineup of school photos of the both of us, sequenced chronologically over the previous 8 years. They nearly were. It was a wall of nerdy, quirky, humorous, and embarrassing mug shots.

As we grew older, we started acquiring hobbies, and identities. So, as you would imagine, our photos began to parallel those changes. My brother had photos of him doing his hobbies. I had photos of me doing mine. Intermixed were photos of our whole family, Mom and Dad included.

All of these, of course, are photographs. They are accurate and definitive glimpses of a moment in time. Frozen memories behind a pane of glass.

My dream last night, as you may imagine, was a bit more.

Picture your family, let’s say five years ago, meeting together at the house you will always consider your one true home. And picture a painting on a specific wall of that house, which you will always remember. This isn’t a photo, this is a painting. This is a painting that changes with time.

This was my dream. Bear with me.

The first time I notice the painting, it is of my Grandpa and Grandma. They were beautiful people. As I look at the painting, Grandpa begins to fade away, until he is gone. As there were lineups of photos on the walls of my houses growing up, consider a wall of paintings on this wall. To the right was a painting of my Grandfather and Grandmother. They, too, were beautiful individuals. Grandfather fades away, until he is gone. Looking back to the left, Grandma is alone in her painting. Looking right, Grandmother has faded, and is gone. Their painting is now a sheet of black.

I don’t dare look back at Grandma’s painting, because I know the inevitable outcome. I knew this would become a painting that I would never want to buy. Empty. Lonely. Black.

Their painting is now a sheet of black.

In my dream, I receive a letter from Grandma. She had long passed. In her letter, she tells of a painting that has been in our family throughout the generations. This painting is a painting in motion. It changes as our family does. It is a timeline only seen by who is looking at it.

Looking at it, I see our immediate family. Mom, Dad, brother, and me. This particular painting is a rendering of a photo that a park ranger took of our family in the Smokies a few years ago. The four of us were there. Then, one wasn’t.

I wasn’t.

When I woke up at 4:00, I started sobbing. Not because I saw myself dying, but because I didn’t see myself living.

I don’t know when I am going to die. Truth be told, I hope I outlive all of you. But, if in the enormous possibility that I don’t, I hope I live my life alive.

I’ve lived most of my life in the fear of being beaten, in perhaps every sense of the word. But, I haven’t. Not nearly in any sense of the word. I’m learning to live my life in a way that motivates me, that pushes me, and makes me happy. And in that sense, I won’t be beaten. And in that sense, hopefully, I won’t fade to black.

So what’s keeping you from living?  Don’t just say you want it.  Seek it. Find it. Do it.

Stepping Stones

When you went to sleep last night, what did you wake up intending to do?  64% of us wake up 5 days a week and get ready to head in to work.

Since my divorce in 2005, I had been one of the 64%.  Prior to that, I’d run a successful Agency for public speakers.  As going through divorce often does, it tore my WHOLE life apart.  Not just the emotional side.  I lost the business.

Man I felt like a failure.  I was embarrassed.  I felt nothing short of defeated. Over the last 8+ years, I’ve allowed that failure to decide my (lack of) happiness.  I allowed that failure to keep me from following my dream.  Why?  I was afraid I’d fail.  Again.

So instead, I job hopped.  A telephone sales job here, a serving job there.  I was even a technology teacher at a charter school at one point.  About 80% of the time I was doing those other jobs, though, I was also doing marketing on the side or marketing was part of my job description.  I’d developed a few clients (and held them), but I was afraid to make this leap of faith.

There’s a certain sense of security knowing your employment is held by an employer.  They take care of payroll.  They take care of making sure clients show up.  They take care of hiring and firing.  All you have to do is show up and collect your paycheck every 2nd Friday.

Now, don’t get me wrong:  As a society, we need people to do this.  Without them, we’d have no medical workers, no legal workers, no public servants.  But there are those of us who feel like we’re merely stumbling through life, keeping our head down all the way.  We are the people who need to snap out of it.  Why aren’t you following your dream(s)?  What fears do you need to face to take your leap of faith?

Again, friends who love me gave me a nice little wake up call.  A gentle smack upside the head to first, wake me up… and then – we began planning.  In one single night, we planned what it would take for me to leave my “normal” job to begin this journey.  The difference is that this time, I began with a bag full of lessons learned.

This journey is mine and now I know one thing.  My past was not a failure.  It was just a stepping stone to my success.

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tarantula Tarantella

Ohhh boy.  Woke up yesterday morning knowing that I had to do a fear blog because…. well… today is Friday!  I had no clue what to do.  I have enough fears, I suppose.  But none of them (except for one) are paralyzing fears.

My friends who have known me for at least a couple of years – or those who have had the privilege of living with me – know this fear to be my biggest.  Their funniest, but my absolute nightmare.

I think I developed this fear when I was around 12 or 13 years old.  The movie Arachnophobia came out.  My neighbor was scared senseless.  I was bound and determined that i was going to show her what I was made of.  I was one brave chick!  So I watched it over…. and over…. and over… and over again.  Until I fully understood EXACTLY why she was so afraid.  And it stuck.

So yesterday morning, I decided.  I know my fears may be puny – but these silly Friday blogs aren’t really just about me.  They’re also about my readers.  I want you guys and gals to take steps outside of your comfort zone to meet your fears .

In my case, last night wasn’t so much about overcoming any fear because I think a fear of spiders is something of a rational fear.  In this case, it’s more about not letting anything  get in the way of your dreams and your passion.  Not a little spider, not a big snake, not fear of failure and not even yourself.

You’ll have to excuse my appearance. My hair had been under a scrub cap all day and I had to consume 2 glasses of wine and eat a Rice Krispie ® Treat the size of Texas before I even worked up the gumption to walk out the door.  When I got to the place (which will remain nameless due to their less than ethical purchasing strategies… hey, it’s the only place around that had a tarantula.  Back off. I didn’t buy anything.) the associate was with another customer and I had another 30 minutes of pure hell waiting around to hold a creature that I’m fairly certain was spewed from the mouth of Satan himself.  My. Nerves. Were. Shot.

I told the associate of my plight to face my fear of spiders.  I told him I wanted to hold one of the tarantulas at which he said, “on one condition. When I put this on you, you can NOT throw it if you get freaked out.”  Done.  The mission had begun.  I began to feel my nerves actually calm knowing this venture was coming to a close.  That is, until he opened the first container and said, “Ummm no.  That one won’t work.  Any time they pull their fangs up like that – I’m not messing with them.”  I’m sorry… THEIR WHAT?!  It’s ok.  It’s clearly for the best that I didn’t do proper research before I had an 8-legged hairy monster crawling on my arm.

The second monster seems less peeved.  Up and over… and…. ohmygoditsonmyarm!!!!!!!!!!!  Breathing.  Be very still.  Don’t let the monster know you’re scared.  They sense fear.  They like the taste of fear.  The monster most surely is going to bite me.  Ok, you may now remove the monster from my arm.

As it turns out, the monster liked me.  It’s when it had to trade hands to the associate that it decided to bite… him.  Poor sucka. :-)

spiders2 copy

 

Go do something that makes you grow!!!